Fire in Canada on April 11 2016 06:02 PM (UTC).
Firefighters are still at a fish plant in Bay de Verde, where an evacuation is affecting half of the eastern Newfoundland fishing community as concerns mount over a large ammonia tank inside the burning building. ay de Verde Mayor Gerard Murphy said on Monday afternoon that people in the town have mostly left the area. "I had to call a state of emergency to evacuate most of the community because of the toxicity of the smoke and the potential danger of explosive material and the like in terms of chemicals at the plant," he said. "The saving grace here this morning is that there has been no injury, and no loss of life." By 2 p.m. AT Monday, smoke and flames were still billowing from the Quinlan Brothers plant. A town official said the fire has burned through the entire building, from the west to the east end. The smoke was so intense that it could be seen in satellite imagery. Fire crews from as far away as Bay Roberts, more than 90 kilometres from Bay de Verde, were dispatched to the community. Seven different fire departments are now battling the blaze. Hundreds of people in the harbour section of the town were forced to evacuate about seven hours earlier, according to a town official. The fire at the plant has been burning since early in the morning Monday. It's the first time Bay de Verde has had to use its emergency plan, and Murphy said it went well. Many of those forced out of the area are at the local elementary school or staying with relatives. "Half of the [southern section of the community] has been evacuated, our emergency plan has been initiated and I have declared a state of emergency," said Murphy. He said southerly winds are gusting 40 to 60 km/h, and the "extremely large" ammonia tank in the facility is the biggest worry. By 9 a.m., Murphy said he had asked the responding fire departments to retreat from the blaze, noting it was too dangerous. But firefighters have continued fighting the flames despite the mayor's request. Murphy added that fears around the toxicity of fumes from ammonia and propane tanks are the main concern.